NC National Guard hosts multi-agency Operation Vigilant Guard
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FORT BRAGG -- The North Carolina National Guard is hosting Operation Vigilant Guard on Fort Bragg. National Guard units from across the country come together and support different federal and state agencies in an emergency situation.
For Pvt. Jose Hernandez, this is the first training experience where he is put into a real-world situation.
"Usually our training is done within our unit, but getting to interact with different units from different states really gives us a feel of how different people work," he said.
Hernandez is part of the Georgia National Guard. Thursday, his unit, along with others from Alabama, were put into a simulated disaster, an explosion with toxic chemicals at a stadium full of thousands of people.
"This brings in a civilian piece of it. This is designed not to be a combative, but to be a rescue type asset," said Lt. Col. Robert Martin with the West Virginia National Guard. "These people don't go and do any sort of combatants. We are an asset to aid to first responders and taking care of the people in the state of North Carolina or Alabama or Georgia or anywhere else."
This exercise is combined with the aid of several state and national organizations. It's something that in the past may not have been put together.
"Normally you just had your first responders, your police, fire, EMT, and if things escalated from that point it was a little bit unsure of what to do after that. But with the implementation of different organizations and units like this, then it gives you more ammunition to fight that fire,” said Staff Sgt. Fabrizzo Dunnom, from the Georgia National Guard.
And as for Hernandez, the opportunity made him more confident and passionate about his job.
"I feel like we are ready in case we were called up,” he said.